Author Profile: Marion woman turns fascination with Jack the Ripper into writing career

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‘I’ve always had sort of a morbid fascination with serial killers.”

Stacy Green, a thriller writer from Marion, indulges that fascination in her new novel, “Killing Jane.” Though the book is set in the present, the 1888 murders by Jack the Ripper figure prominently in the story.

“I think it’s the unknown that’s drawn me in,” Green said of the fact that Jack was never apprehended.

She didn’t want to write historical fiction about Jack the Ripper, but she thought the killings were still relevant today as she considered “the cruel, gruesome things people do to one another.”

“As much as our society has evolved since Jack the Ripper, murder is still murder,” she said.

Green’s career as a writer has gone through a recent evolution. She has been a fairly prolific indie author for some time now and has seen some success with her Lucy Kendall series.

“Killing Jane,” the first book in a new series featuring investigator Erin Prince, is published by Vesuvian Books, which Green describes as a hybrid publisher. “They fill the void that existed between indie and traditional publishing,” she said.

Vesuvian Books also is eager to help its authors get television and film deals, a process Green says is underway for “Killing Jane.”

Green has been invested in getting as much of her work out into the world as possible.

“I have been working as hard as I could to get my backlist published because that’s how you build a following... I’ve just been writing my behind off.”

She describes herself as being on something of a “hamster wheel” as she works to release a new book every three to six months to build a following.

That said, Green says the four-book Lucy Kendall series has come to a close, allowing her to focus her energies on the Erin Prince novels. Fans of the earlier series, however, will be delighted to learn that a character from Kendall books, Todd Beckett, is Prince’s new partner in “Killing Jane,” and Kendall herself is in the background of the story.

Green says she has ideas for the next four Erin Prince books, and her interest in serial killers will continue to serve her well.

“It’s an iconic killer series,” she said, explaining that the novels will continue to feature famous murderers — both real and fictional. The second book will be titled “Hyde and Seek,” and will draw inspiration from Robert Louis Stevenson’s 1886 novella “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

For many writers who hail from Iowa, the writing culture in the state serves as inspiration and encouragement. But Green, who grew up in small town Iowa and attended Drake University before moving to Marion, says she felt differently.

“For a long time I thought I couldn’t be the writer I wanted to be because I lived in Iowa,” she said. Eventually, she realized that her home state, which she describes as a “melting pot” of people and ideas, offered her plenty of opportunity for observation of human behavior.

Even so, her adventures in indie publishing were largely a solitary endeavor.

“My bread and butter has come from the e-book world,” she said, which meant she wasn’t doing readings in bookstores — like her upcoming reading at Next Page Books in NewBo — or engaging with the local writing scene in other ways.

“Really, it’s only been in the last year that I became aware of what a wonderful writing community we have.”

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